This was related to me this past weekend by the soldier's uncle. I'm changing the name of the soldier to John. I don't think he would have wanted people to know his real name.
John grew up the son of a soldier. Not just any soldier, a Ranger. These guys are the toughest of the tough. Always assigned tough jobs. And always willing to go in. On Sept 11, 2001, John's father was working for the Pentagon. He wasn't at the Pentagon that day, but he could have been. John saw what happend and announced his intent to join the Army. He wanted to be a Ranger.
Only problem, John was still in high school. His parents told him to finish school, then they talked him in to one year of college. If he finished that year and still wanted to join up, they would agree.
During his first year of college, John did exceptionally well. But he didn't spend time studying. At the end of the school year, he took a summer job, but when summer was over, he decided to enlist. His parents supported him. He went to boot camp and excelled in everything. Then artillery school, then jump school. Again excelling at everything. After that, he went to Ranger school. The fall-out rate in Ranger school is high. There are always more candidates than there is room. But John excelled, and easily made it into Ranger school.
He did a tour of Iraq and came back. His uncle (who told me this story) took him to the airport when it was time to go back. John told his uncle, "You know I'm getting them over there so we don't have to get them over here, right?"
What a testimony to his country. John didn't make it back alive from that tour. He's now at Arlington Memorial Cemetery.
One soldier's story.